The bus carrying members of the DeKalb NAACP will travel overnight, arriving in time for a day of activities around the West Potomac Park ceremony.
John Evans, the group’s president, said they will “keep it fired up” on the trip.
“This is an opportunity for the ages,” he said Wednesday. “Being at the dedication is simply superb. It’s just like going to the inauguration of the first black president. I wouldn’t miss it for the world.”
During the bus trip, riders will celebrate King, who is the first African-American to have a statue on the National Mall.
“We are going to sing freedom songs,” Evans said.
“There will be testimonies from those who were involved in the movement and we will play clips of Dr. King’s speeches,” he said.
The dedication was rescheduled from Aug. 28 as Hurricane Irene caused havoc along the eastern seaboard.
The Martin Luther King Jr. National Memorial Project Foundation, which is hosting the dedication ceremony for the 30-foot King Memorial, has scaled back the festivities, but a full day of events is still planned.
The dedication activities begin with an hour-long “Morning Joy” program at 8 a.m. emceed by television commentator Roland Martin.
The 9 a.m. dedication program, emceed by PBS “NewsHour’s” Gwen Ifill, will pay tribute to King.
President Barack Obama will deliver the dedication address, and noted civil rights leaders, including Julian Bond; U.S. Rep. John Lewis; Marian Wright Edelman; former Ambassador Andrew Young; and the Revs. Joseph Lowery, Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, are scheduled to speak.
King family members and retired network TV news anchor Dan Rather, who covered the civil rights movement early in his career, are also on the program.
Musical and spoken tributes will be delivered by poet Nikki Giovanni, Mary Mary, Miri Ben-Ari and PoemCees, Sweet Honey in the Rock, and Jennifer Holliday. The Dedication Choir of 75 vocalists from across the Washington metropolitan area will perform.
Harry E. Johnson, Sr., president and CEO of the Martin Luther King Jr. National Memorial Project Foundation Inc., said Sunday’s dedication will be a wonderful way to celebrate the life, the dream, and the legacy of King as well as democracy, hope, justice and love.
“Although our plans have been scaled back, I am confident Sunday’s event will be momentous for all who join us in West Potomac Park and those who tune in from across the country and around the world to witness this long-awaited moment in our nation’s history,” he said.
The $120 million Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial is America’s 395th national park. It is adjacent to the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial and in a direct line between the Lincoln and Jefferson memorials.
It features a 450-foot inscription wall with more than a dozen of King’s quotes engraved into granite.
The memorial opened to the public on Aug. 24. Its original Aug. 28 dedication date was the 48th anniversary of the March on Washington and King’s historic “I Have a Dream” speech.
On Oct. 15, Sharpton’s National Action Network is hosting a March on Washington to advocate for Obama’s jobs package that was voted down by the Senate.
Carrie Briscoe of Stone Mountain will be on the NAACP bus headed for the memorial’s dedication.
She says that her main reason for going on the trip is to take her 12-year-old great-granddaughter, Mya Garrison, to witness the historic occasion.
“I can’t wait to see her eyes light up when she sees the monument,” said Briscoe, 72.
“It will be something she will remember for the rest of her life. To be there with the civil rights leaders and see the passion of the older people. I just wish we could take more kids with us.”
Briscoe, who moved to Atlanta 25 years ago, said she was inspired to move here after meeting Coretta Scott King, King’s widow.
She was in the audience when Mrs. King was advocating for a library to honor her slain husband.
“The compassion I saw in her face inspired me to move here,” Briscoe said. “I fell in love with the dream. Just to go there and see the statue, I know will be a tear-jerker.”